Welcome to the online exhibition of Vivat Rex!, celebrating the 500th anniversary of King Henry VIII's accession to the throne.
Visit the full exhibition from September 24 - December 30, 2010.
The first of the Tudor monarchs, King Henry VII, gained his throne at the Battle of Bosworth, on August 22, 1485. He married Elizabeth of York, uniting the royal houses of Lancaster and York, and they had four children who survived infancy. Their elder son, Prince Arthur, married Catherine of Aragon, but he died without an heir at the age of fifteen. Henry VII himself died on April 21, 1509, and two days later his second son, not yet eighteen, was proclaimed King Henry VIII. Within two months, the new king married his brother’s widow, having received papal dispensation to do so some five years earlier. What they wanted most was a son and heir, but this was not to be: a son, named Henry for his father, was born on New Year’s Day, 1511, but he died seven weeks later.
Pictured to the right is Henry VIII's birthplace—Greenwich Palace (earlier named Placentia, “the palace of courtesy”). The palace was demolished in the seventeenth century, and the Old Royal Navy College now stands on the same site.
James Basire. A view of the antient royal palace called Placentia. Print, 1767
Vivat Rex! is on view September 24 - December 30, 2010
Admission is free.